It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Gatlinburg is one of the most wonderful places to celebrate it! East Tennessee is striking at any time of year, but there’s something especially charming about Downtown Gatlinburg at Christmas time.
Whether you’re a local or new to the area, you’re in for a holly jolly Christmas in the Great Smokies this year. Here is our guide to Downtown Gatlinburg at Christmas.
Take in the Lights at Winterfest.
If there’s one thing that every person of every age loves, it’s Christmas lights! Gatlinburg knows how to brighten up the town, with vibrant lights strewn throughout the downtown and beyond. While you can’t help taking in the lights when you stroll through downtown Gatlinburg, we recommend that you check out Winterfest.
Winterfest illuminates Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville; you’ll be treated to over 5 million colorful lights, with displays that include Christmas trees and even light-up animals. Winterfest can be enjoyed from November to February, but there’s something special about seeing those lights at Christmastime. We recommend you try one of the amazing trolley tours to see the highlights of these stunning displays.
Enjoy the Village Shops
Sure, you could order your Christmas gifts online… but where’s the fun in that? Pick up something unexpected and local at The Village Shops in Downtown Gatlinburg. Of course, if your Christmas shopping is done, you can always pick out something for yourself as well.
The Village Shops are particularly quaint and charming at Christmastime; they go all out with their decorations, elevating their old-world charm. Make sure to check out the seasonal goods at their eateries too; we especially love the donuts from the Donut Friar.
Experience Christmas in Dollywood
For those visiting the Smokies for the first time, a trip to Dollywood is a rite of passage. What could be better than a Dolly Parton-themed theme park? With delicious food and thrilling rides, Dollywood is sure to delight those of all ages.
During the holiday season, Dollywood transforms into a Winter Wonderland. The Smoky Mountain Christmas event, lasting through the month of December, gives that festive flair to your Dollywood visit. Enjoy a joyous Christmas show, twinkling light shows, and even fireworks to end the night.
Go Full Festive at Santa’s Claus-Et
For those who love to collect holiday trinkets or those who always need a new ornament on the tree each year, a Christmas store is truly something to behold. In Gatlinburg, the biggest Christmas store is Santa’s Claus-Et. This is the place to get all of your seasonal decor and indulge in that Christmas spirit. Pick out your new Christmas tree, eat some delicious cookies, and don’t forget the kids – they can have a visit with Santa while they’re there!
Take in the View at the Gatlinburg Space Needle
It’s time to bring Christmas to new heights. Gatlinburg’s Space Needle is known as one of the best places to take in the Great Smoky Mountains, as the highest point in the city. While we encourage you to check it out any time of the year, it’s somehow more memorable during the winter months, with the frosty air and snowcapped mountains as far as the eye can see. For the most Instagrammable moments, visit at golden hour right before the sunset; prepare to have your breath taken away!
Sample Some Delightful Wine
We might be biased, but trying new wines puts us in holiday spirits. Why not come visit one of our five delightful wineries along the Gatlinburg wine trail? Try some creative wines, connect with your loved ones, and let our staff tell you their favorite parts of a Christmas spent in the Smokies. We can’t wait to see you there!